Over 170,000 People Crossed the Darién Gap This Year - Expat Community

Over 170,000 People Crossed the Darién Gap This Year

Jun 11, 2024 | News & Articles, Panama | 0 comments

by Mario De Gracia

From January to June 2024, a total of 178,043 people crossed the Darién Gap as irregular migrants.

This figure represents an increase in flow compared to the same period last year, according to the “Controlled Flow Operation of Irregular Migrants” carried out by the National Migration Service (SNM).

As of early June last year, the SNM had reported the irregular entry of 166,000 people, of which about 20% were children, mostly from South America.

Numerous organizations have warned about the dangers of crossing the gap, yet thousands choose to traverse it in search of better opportunities outside their home countries. Most do so with the intention of reaching the United States.

Weekly, hundreds of migrants leave the temporary camps in Darién to continue their journey toward the Costa Rican border.

In the last week, from June 6-9, 2024, 129 buses traveled towards Costa Rica, reporting the departure of 6,000 people.

The president-elect, José Raúl Mulino, has reiterated on several occasions the need to close the irregular border crossing.

According to the designated Minister of Security, Frank Ábrego, the way to make the closure viable is by implementing checkpoints where migrants can be detained and then proceed with their repatriation.

Less than a month before the government transition, the SNM has maintained the campaign “Darién is not a route,” which aimed to stop the crisis that reached its peak in 2023, when half a million people crossed the jungle.

As of June 2024, the main nationalities of those crossing the gap were Venezuelan, Ecuadorian, and Haitian.


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